Bali Scooter Rental
Scooters are by far the easiest way to get around Bali but they don’t come without their challenges, although Bali scooter rental is relatively straight forward, if you know what you’re doing.
The reason they’re the best way to get around is because the traffic is crazy in Bali. If you’re in a car you’ll just spend hours stuck in traffic jams not going anywhere. But if you’ re on a bike you can just zip in and out of the traffic.
The process of renting a scooter in Bali itself is simple enough but there are a lot of other things to bear in mind too. This guide will take you through the usual prices you should be aiming to get (people will rip you off if you don’t haggle), how to get a legitimate license to drive in Bali (where that’s an international driving permit or local license) what that means for your insurance and what will be required for you to get the bike and to watch out for.
Jump to whichever section interests you the most by hitting one of the links below.
Bali Scooter Rental
Prices for Bali Bike Rental
How much you’re expected to pay for a bike will depend on which type of bike it is and how well you haggle.
In general for a 125 Honda Vario, which is an average good bike, you’ll pay 60,000 IDR per day, 350,000 – 400,000 IDR a week or 650,000 to 700,000 a month.
Scoopy’s are about the same price. Some people love Scoopy’s as they look a lot less daunting as they’re lower down and they’re generally lighter and a little less powerful so good as a starter bike. I really dislike them for exactly those reasons.
Where to Rent a Bike
There are some big companies in Bali that rent out motorbikes and if you’re looking for hassle-free scooter hire in Bali that maybe your best bet as some even deliver the bikes to your door. You’ll pay more for it though.
To get the types of prices I mention above you’ll need to use an independent bike renter instead. There are plenty in Bali. The best ways to find them are to ask your hotel, walk around and stop anywhere you see signs saying “sewa motor” or join a Facebook group for the area of Bali you want to rent for the bike in. For example, if you’re looking for scooter rental Uluwatu you can join the Uluwatu community on Facebook and post in there what you’re looking for. Same if you’re in Ubud or anywhere else in Bali.
There are so many motorbike rental options in Bali you’ll find one easily enough.
International Drivers License
To drive a scooter in Bali you need to have the bike’s registration document and an international driving license. Your usual license you’d use at home isn’t enough.
When you rent a scooter you should be given the registration document with the bike. It will usually be in the seat. Just double-check that it’s the original and in date as otherwise, the police can fine you for that.
The person renting you your bike will usually ask you if you have a motorbike license when renting the bike too.
Saying yes will be enough for them to rent you the bike.
Obviously, that doesn’t mean that what you’re doing is legal.
Riding a scooter in Bali without a license isn’t at all uncommon but it does mean you’ll have to pay a fine if stopped by the police and it may make your travel insurance invalid (see below).
It is also really straightforward in most countries to get an international driving permit so well worth doing before you leave home. In England, you just have to go into your local post office with a passport photo and your usually license and they’ll issue it then and there for about £5.
Having an international driving permit will mean that if the police ever stop you, and they do perform random checks especially in Seminyak and Uluwatu, then you won’t have to pay a fine.
That is true even if you don’t have a motorbike driving license back home. For them, the presence of the license is enough.
Irritatingly, the licenses only last for a year and for most you have to get them in your home country (in the UK you used to be able to apply by post so someone else could do it for you but that’s no longer the case).
You can get a tourist license for the duration of your stay in Bali. It costs 400,000 IDR a month and you can get it in a day from the police station in Denpasar.
If the sole purpose of you getting a license is so that you don’t have to pay fines when the police stop you getting the Balinese driving license wouldn’t make financial sense as even if you get stopped frequently you wouldn’t end up paying 400,000 a month in fines (more on that below).
If you’re going to be in Bali long term you can also get a 5-year driving license. Technically it’s not possible to get this as a foreigner any more unless you have a KITAS but I still know people that have done it. Join a few of the Facebook groups for Bali just before you arrive if you want to take this route, someone will have a contact of a person that can sort it.’
Fines for Riding a Scooter in Bali Without a License
If you get stopped by the police and don’t have the right documentation on you, you’ll have to pay a fine.
You’ll hear a lot of people being all Billy-big-bollocks going on about “just carry on driving they’ll never catch you”. They don’t have clue what they’re talking about. Yes sometimes that would be possible but a lot of the time they block a section of the road and have 20 odd officers there pulling people in. Sometimes they even have a second line of cops a bit further along to block people who did make it past the first stop.
When you’re stopped they’ll show you a list of the official fine amounts. If you say you don’t have enough money on you to pay the fine then and there they’re then supposed to give you a ticket and you go and pay the fine at the station later.
However, if you say you don’t have enough money on you to pay the fine and ask if there’s any way you can sort it out then and there and they will most likely accept a reduced payment from you on the spot instead.
This is not legit, it’s a bribe.
The first time you get pulled over it can be a bit nerve-wracking to do this but it happens every day. They’re used to it and they would prefer that’s what you do as then they get to pocket the money themselves.
How much they will accept is directly related to how much money you have in your wallet. If you open your wallet and have 1,000,000 IDR in there, that is how much your fine will be. If you have a bank card visible you may be taken to an ATM to take money out to pay the fine/bribe.
The smallest amount you will get away with paying it 50,000 IDR. A lot of people, therefore, keep a separate cop wallet on them in Bali which has 50,000 and some small change (to make it look legit) and nothing else so that if they get stopped they can open that and say “that’s all I have on me”.
If you’re going to be driving around Bali without a license you may want to consider doing the same.
As well as being fined for not having a license you can also be fined for not wearing a helmet and for sitting in front of the white line at traffic lights. Fine or no fine it’s never worth the risk to your life of driving around without a helmet on anyway.
Travel Insurance and Riding Motorbikes
Before going anywhere you should always get travel insurance. It’s not really for your possessions, although it’s nice to know they’ll be covered if something gets stolen, it’s for your health. If anything happens and you need to go to hospital while aboard the costs can be extortionate and they won’t treat you unless you pay or have insurance.
I’m not talking about an unexpected cost of a couple of thousand dollars here. I’m talking about hundreds of thousands of dollars in hospital bills.
Driving a motorbike or scooter, obviously, also comes with a risk of accidents that are more likely to harm you physically than say if you were in a car. The even the simplest scooter accidents can do is disturbing.
And in Bali if you’re foreign and have an accident, no matter what happened, it’s likely the accident will be your fault and therefore you’ll have to cover the other party’s medical costs too.
Even if your travel insurance states that it covers motorbikes it may still not cover you though.
Your travel insurance will only cover you for driving a scooter if you have a valid motorbike license back home.
Just like you wouldn’t be covered driving a car in a foreign country if you haven’t actually first passed you driving test back home.
In the U.K. and Australia, you can drive a 50cc moped with L plates on a full car driving license. I honestly don’t think you’d be able to even rent a 50cc scooter in Bali and especially not with L plates on.
To drive a bike up to 125cc (which is what most rentals will be) you have to do compulsory basic training first which only takes a day and is relatively simple. Again however that only qualifies you to drive with L plates on and you are not covered to drive someone on the back of your bike.
The only license that means you can drive a motorbike legally without L plates on at home and abroad is a full motorbike license. It’s hard and expensive to get a motorbike license with two practical tests and a theory test (even if you already have your car one) being required in the UK. You have to do high speed swerves as part of it, push around a 200kg bike with the engine off and it will cost you the better part of £1000 to do it. But not doing so could leave you with hundreds of thousands of dollars worth of medical bills.
Your car driving license does not make it legal to drive any time of motorbike without L plates and if you haven’t done your CBT you can’t even ride one above 50cc meaning your insurance won’t cover you.
Travel insurance will only cover any accident you have if you have a full motorbike license, were wearing a helmet and weren’t drunk (I mean like duh obvs).
So many people go on about how their car driving license covers them for driving a scooter. It doesn’t in any practical useful sense. They’re wrong.
Double-check the details of your insurance too even if you have a full bike license as some only cover up to 125cc under their standard insurance and most don’t cover for third-party damage.
Almost all do not cover the cost of the scooter you are renting if it were to be stolen.
Damage to the Bike – This one isn’t big in Bali actually but I know it’s something people worry about as it’s known for happening in Thailand and India. This scam is where you rent the bike and then when you return it they claim you caused damage that you didn’t. This can happen with anything you rent, for example, a surfboard too and even though it’s not common in Bali it’s worth checking over whatever you rent and pointing out any flaws on the rental so it can’t come back to you later.
Bikes being Stolen – This is the biggest scam and is most prevalent on Lombok but also happens in Bali. Someone rents you the bike and then they inform people they know of where you’re staying or follow you and steal it. You will then have to pay the person you rented the bike of the amount stated on your rental slip for if the bike is stolen. That’s usually about $1000 and as stated above your insurance won’t cover this.
The other variation of this scam is that the people who stole it contact you and agree to sell you the bike back for a fee which is less than what you would have to pay the scooter rental person but still an obnoxious amount to get your own bike back.
Just make sure you always put your key socket guard down when parking and if it’s overnight put your wheel lock on too.
It’s rare to really have any problems with your Bali scooter rental though. The biggest problems people face are injuring themselves by not wearing helmets and then not bring able to claim on insurance due to not having a proper license.
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